There are several ways by which a tree may have legal protection:
- By having a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on it.
- By growing in a Conservation Area (CA).
- By being the subject of a Covenant.
- By being included in a Planning Condition.
- By the felling restrictions contained within the Forestry Act 1967.
It is the duty of tree owners and tree surgeons to check the status of a tree before authorising or carrying out work to it, as ultimately they will be responsible for work. There are severe penalties for carrying out work to protected trees without consent, including fines of up to £20,000.
General information on Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas are contained in leaflet “Protected Trees” which can be obtained from the Tree Section. The Tree Section can also provide local information regarding protected trees.
The Council will encourage the use of suitably qualified tree surgeons to carry out work to trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas, Planning Conditions and Covenants.
Trees of significance in their locality are often protected by legislation under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which requires a private tree owner to obtain the consent of the Council before undertaking certain types of tree work (see Box 6). These trees are often old or rare, and always aesthetically valuable for a variety of reasons. Therefore, it is vitally important that any tree surgery that is carried out to them is undertaken correctly and sensitively. In addition, the details of any consent given may be best understood by a professional arborist. This is because prosecution can result if the work carried out exceeds or differs from the consent given.
The Council will require as part of any consent granted for work to protected trees, that the work is carried out to BS3998 “Recommendations for Tree Work” 1989 and subsequent amendments.